CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini
assured on Tuesday that there is no crisis at the South African
Social Security Agency (SASSA) and that all eligible social
grants beneficiaries will receive their money on April 1 and
Dlamini said she
wanted to set the record straight and in the process allay the
concerns and fears of social grant beneficiaries and ordinary
South Africans who have been confused by the prophets of doom
that “social grants may not be paid on April 1, 2017.”
She was speaking at
a snap debate in Parliament on the looming crisis of grant
There have been
growing calls for Dlamini to resign over the so-called failure
to deliver grants to more than 17 million beneficiaries.
have severely criticized Dlamini and the government for poorly
handling the SASSA and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) saga.
They accuse both
Dlamini and government of maladministration, incompetence and
Early this month,
the SASSA launched an urgent application with the Constitutional
Court, asking it to extended its contract with the CPS for
The same court ruled
in 2014 that the contract was unlawful, and ordered the
Department of Social Development to replace CPS by the first of
April this year.
This has led to
speculations that no grants will be paid to pensioners next
President Jacob Zuma
intervened last week, saying he is confident social grant
beneficiaries will be paid next month.
At the parliamentary
debate, Dlamini said the government has, without failure, been
paying the right social grant, to the right person, at the right
time and place since the SASSA’s establishment 10 years ago.
“We will continue
doing so without failure on April 1 this year and beyond,” she
Today, South Africa
is ranked as one of the countries with the most extensive and
progressively targeted social security system. The number of
people receiving grants increased from 2.4 million in 1998 to
over 17 million to date, according to Dlamini.
approximately 30 percent of the population. Majority of these
grants are Child Support Grants (CSG) which exceed 11 million,
claim that there is a crisis at SASSA is therefore nothing more
than a mere self-serving propaganda and political grandstanding
of the highest order. They must stop with their scare campaign
which has caused public panic and anxiety,” the minister said.
The SASSA’s mandate
is to ensure the provision of comprehensive social security
against vulnerability and poverty within the Constitutional and
legislative framework of the country, Dlamini noted.
South African police hail
hefty sentences imposed on 22 illegal miners
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
South African police on Wednesday hailed hefty
sentences imposed on 22 illegal miners, calling the move "a
landmark moment" in the fight against illegal mining in the
This came after the Virginia High Court in Free State
Province sentenced 22 convicted illegal miners to lengthy prison
terms ranging from 20 to 22 years.
This is the first time in South Africa that illegal miners
get lengthy prison terms.
"We hope that this precedent set by our courts will not only
serve as a deterrent, but will also help us in our efforts to
combat illegal mining even in other upcoming cases," Police
Lieutenant General Mthandazo Ntlemeza said in a statement.
The 22 miners were arrested in April 2014 for illegal mining
operation that started in August 2012 at Masimong Mine in
Welkom, Free State Province.
They were arrested during an operation conducted by a
security company and the Hawks, a special anti-crime unit while
the criminals illegally occupied a closed mine.
Initially, all convicts were facing 843 charges. However,
they were cleared on 266 charges and were found guilty on 577
charges on February 20, 2017.
South Africa’s disused shafts are a draw card for gold
diggers from neighboring Mozambique, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
According to the South African Chamber of Mines, over six
billion rand (about 460 million U.S. dollars) is lost through
illegal mining annually in the country.
About 70 percent of illegal miners are illegal immigrants,
and about 14,000 people are involved in illegal mining in South
Africa, the chamber says.
Illegal mining is also blamed for human tragedies.
In the most infamous case to date, 91 illegal miners perished
after a fire broke out underground in a disused section of
Harmony Gold Mining’s Eland shaft in South Africa’s Free State
goldfields in June 2009.
The case attracted international attention and led to
crackdown attempts by the South African government..
Zuma intervenes to defuse
South African and Mozambican nationals
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
President Jacob Zuma pledged on Tuesday to combat
crime that is causing tension between South African and
Mozambican nationals in communities bordering Mozambique.
The president urged
the local communities of Mhlabuyalingana and surrounding
municipalities of Mkhanyakude, Hlabisa and Jozini in northern
KwaZulu-Natal Province to renew their trust in the police and
work together with them to combat cross-border crime especially
car hijackings in the area.
Zuma visited the
area on Tuesday to meet representatives from the communities and
hear their concerns amid tensions between residents and foreign
nationals, the presidency said.
The communities have
been hit by incidents of stock theft and cross-border hijackings
involving Mozambican nationals who allegedly hijack cars from
South Africans and drive them across the border.
authorities bluntly refused to return the cars, local South
Africans complain to Zuma.
Zuma visited the
local police station which he found to be severely
under-resourced and also went to inspect the borderline between
South Africa and Mozambique.
undertook to look into the issues raised by the community,
especially the suspicion that some members of the police are
alleged to work with the crime syndicates.
corruption and bribery involving police are reportedly rife in
Zuma urged the
communities to provide information on specific cases of police
involvement and avoid generalizations.
crossed over the border and greeted the Mozambican police and
Mozambican residents living on the borderline and was greeted
warmly by the Mozambican nationals, according to the presidency.
Zuma said South
African national departments particularly of the Police,
Defence, State Security, Home Affairs, Social Development and
others would make a strong intervention after his visit, working
with the provincial government and municipalities.
Zuma said South
Africa enjoys strong and warm historical relations with
Mozambique and crime should not be allowed to sour these
The visit was part
of the government’s intensified campaign against crime as
tension between South Africans and foreign nationals increased.
The campaign is
drawing all the spheres of government in unity towards
eradicating crime and dealing with serious tension in the area
between citizens and migrants or visitors from neighbouring
sister countries, presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga
Congress opens in South
Africa, role of small businesses in focus
By Ndumiso Mlilo JOHANNESBURG South
Africa (Xinhua) -- The Global
Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) 2017 opened on Tuesday in
Johannesburg by South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa
with the aim of sharing ideas on how small businesses can grow
and make positive contributions to their countries.
Over 5,000 delegates
representing researchers, policy makers, entrepreneurs,
investors and start-ups champions from over 170 countries are
attending this 3-day congress in Johannesburg.
a robust discussion to solve the problems. He said, “Across the
globe, entrepreneurship is a powerful tool for development. We
meet to share ideas on how collectively we can generate
inclusive development, restore humanity’s dignity and rekindle
hope for a better tomorrow. We meet to discuss how we can
effectively harness the energy of enterprise and the tools of
technology to build a better world. It is an avenue for
mentorship, knowledge exchange and investment.”
He said the meeting
presents an opportunity to change the world. He called upon
African entrepreneurs to use the congress as an opportunity to
interact with potential global partners, engage with policy
makers and business leaders.
entrepreneurs have a potential to create jobs, and he also
called on governments to create procurement policies that
support small businesses, to reform regulations and tax laws to
promote the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
called upon to embrace digital disruptions to grow their
business and eventually the economies.
Ramaphosa said, “We
must recognize that digital disruption is a cornerstone of a
modern, diversified economy. It is digital disruptors who
redefine the competitive landscape as they strengthen
knowledge-based economies. Across the world, digital innovators
are already bringing massive change in every market.”
countries to put entrepreneurship in the school curriculum to
help the youths grow up with that culture. He said fostering
entrepreneurship at an early age will enable the youths to not
seek employment but create jobs.
He also encouraged
African entrepreneurs to form a network which will continue
after the congress to promote the intra-Africa trade. Ramaphosa
also encouraged the entrepreneurs of the world to exchange good
practices and knowledge so that the continent could realize the
dreams of Africa’s founding fathers for a a better one.
He said, “We invite
entrepreneurs from our continent and the world to collaborate
with entrepreneurs in this country to start sustainable,
profitable businesses that will create jobs. We urge you, our
creative and courageous entrepreneurs, to apply your minds to
the challenges of our continent. Be with the children of Africa
to realize the promise of freedom.”
South Africa has
established the Ministry of Small Business Development which is
led by Lindiwe Zulu. Zulu said the country is proud and grateful
to be the first to host GEC in the continent.
She said they have
held meeting before the congress to ensure that there is
continuity after they wrap their meeting on Thursday. Zulu said
the legacy of the GEC should be seen with the results and what
will happen after.
Chairperson of GEC and president of Global Entrepreneurship
Network, said they are happy to see the event being hosted in
Africa. He said, “on behalf on international community present
here, we are happy to be here to collaborate work and be
inspired by entrepreneurs.”
also have sessions where small businesses will pitch their
business in the presence of funders to attract partnership,
collaboration and investment. Some companies are also exhibiting
at the same venue.